Nam C. Kim

Position title: Professor


Phone: 608-262-2187

5404 Sewell Social Science Bldg.


Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, 2010
Joined UW-Madison faculty in 2010


Nam C. Kim CV

“Legendary Cổ Loa: Vietnam’s Ancient Capital” (2020). Interview with Tristan Hughes, part of History Hit TV’s podcast series The Ancients

“The Origins of Warfare” (2021). Interview with Tristan Hughes, part of History Hit TV’s podcast series The Ancients

“The Origins of Civilisation” (2021). Interview with Tristan Hughes, part of History Hit TV’s podcast series The Ancients 

2021 Violence and Warfare in Humanity’s Past. Lecture given for PBS Wisconsin’s University Place (March 3)

Areas of Focus

Archaeology, Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Complex societies, Warfare


Center for East Asian Studies
Center for Southeast Asian Studies
Vietnam Institute of Archaeology (Hanoi)


I am an anthropological archaeologist interested in sociopolitical complexity, early forms of cities, factors associated with significant cultural change, and the relationship between modern politics, cultural heritage, and the material record. I am  especially interested in the cultural contexts and social consequences of organized violence and warfare, as manifested in various cultural, spatial and temporal settings. Much of my recent research has been geographically focused on East and Southeast Asia, and since 2005 I have been conducting archaeological fieldwork in Vietnam at the Co Loa settlement in the Red River Delta. A heavily fortified site located near modern-day Hanoi, Co Loa is purportedly connected to Vietnamese legendary accounts and is thus viewed by many as integral to the genesis of Vietnamese civilization. Aside from its historical and national significance, the case of Co Loa is salient for archaeological theory as it constitutes one of the earliest cases for both state formation and urbanism in Southeast Asia.

The Oxford Handbook of Early Southeast Asia (Oxford University Press, 2022)

Emergent Warfare in Our Evolutionary Past (Routledge, 2018)

The Origins of Ancient Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2015)


  • Anth 100: General Anthropology
  • Anth 102: Archaeology and the Prehistoric World
  • Anth 310: Topics in Archaeology
    • Topic: Archaeology of East and Southeast Asia
    • Topic: Archaeology of Southeast Asia
    • Topic: Archaeology of Violence and Warfare
  • Anth 490: Undergraduate Seminar
    • Topic: Archaeology of Warfare
    • Topic: Ancient States and Empires of East and Southeast Asia
    • Topic: Ancient Urbanism and Social Complexity
  • Anth 942: Graduate Seminar
    • Topic: Archaeology of Warfare

Select Publications

  • 2023 Kim, Nam C., Hiep H. Trinh, Russell Quick, and Thuy Vo. Co Loa: Biography of an Anomalous Place. Journal of Urban Archaeology 7, pp. 17-30.
  • 2023 Kim, Nam C. and Patricia McAnany. Experimenting with Large-Group Aggregation. Journal of Urban Archaeology 7, pp. 51-76.
  • 2023 Kim, Nam C., Christopher Hernandez, Justin Bracken, and Kenneth Seligson. Cultural Dimensions of Warfare in the Maya World. Ancient Mesoamerica 34(1), pp. 266-279.
  • 2023 Kim, Nam C. Contemplating Domination. In Past and Present Manifestations of Domination in Indigenous Latin America, edited by Yamilette Chacon and Richard J. Chacon.pp. 204-233. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
  • 2022 Kim, Nam C. and Russell Quick. Inscribing Power on a Landscape: The Case of Co Loa in Vietnam. In Landscapes of Warfare, edited by Hugo C. Ikehara and Juan Carlos Vargas Ruiz, pp. 118-138. University of Colorado Press, Louisville, CO.
  • 2022 Kim, Nam C. The Co Loa Polity in Northern Vietnam. In The Oxford Handbook of Early Southeast Asia, edited by Charles Higham and Nam C. Kim, pp. 625-636. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • 2022 Kim, Nam C. The Dong Son Culture of Vietnam. In The Oxford Handbook of Early Southeast Asia, edited by Charles Higham and Nam C. Kim, pp. 532-543. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • 2022 Neubauer, Fernanda and Nam C. Kim. Tupinambá practices of violence, warfare, and cannibalism in sixteenth century Brazil through ethnohistory and archaeology. Habitus 19(2), pp. 189-213.
  • Kim, Nam. 2020. A Pathway to Emergent Social Complexity and State Power: A View from Southeast Asia. In The Evolution of Social Institutions, edited by Dmitri D. Beliaev, Dmitri M. Bondarenko, Richard J. Chacon, Yamilette Chacon, Stephen Kowalewski, and David Small, pp. 225-253. Springer.
  • Kim, Nam and Jina Heo. 2019. Built Environments and Social Organizations: A Comparative View from Asia. In Architectural Energetics in Archaeology: Analytical Expansions and Global Explorations, edited by Elliot Abrams and Leah McCurdy, pp. 26-55. Routledge, New York.
  • Kim, Nam C. and Marc Kissel. 2018. Emergent Warfare in Our Evolutionary Past. Routledge, New York.
  • Kim, Nam C. Coercive Power and State Formation in Northern Vietnam. In Feast, Famine or Fighting? Multiple Pathways to Social Complexity, edited by Richard Chacon and Ruben Mendoza, pp. 165-196. Springer, New York.
  • Kissel, Marc and Nam C. Kim. 2017. How Culture Allows for War and Peace. Sapiens, November 16. (
  • Kim, Nam C. 2016. Matters of the past mattering today. Oxford University Press Blog post, July 22. (
  • Kim, Nam C. 2015. The Origins of Ancient Vietnam. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Kim, Nam C, Chapurukha Kusimba, and Lawrence Keeley. 2015. Coercion and Warfare in the Rise of State Societies in Southern Zambezia. African Archaeological Review 32(1), pp. 1-34.
  • Kim, Nam C. 2015. Ancient State Formation at the Southern Edge of Sinitic Civilization. Imperial China and Its Southern Neighbours, edited by Victor H. Mair and Liam C. Kelley, pp. 43-79. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore.
  • Kim, Nam C. 2015. Co Loa: A Site of Manifold Significance. In Arts du Vietnam: Nouvelles Approches, edited by Caroline Herbelin, Beatrice Wisniewski, and Francoise Dalex. Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, pp. 67-72.
  • Kim, Nam C. 2013. Cultural Landscapes of War and Political Regeneration. Asian Perspectives 52(2), pp. 244-267. (Appeared in 2015).
  • Kim, Nam C. 2013. Lasting monuments and durable institutions: Labor, urbanism, and statehood in northern Vietnam and beyond. Journal of Archaeological Research21(3), pp. 217-267.
  • Kim, Nam C. 2012. Angels, Illusions, Hydras, and Chimeras: Violence and Humanity. Book review essay of The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker and The Western Illusion of Human Nature by Marshall Sahlins. Reviews in Anthropology41(4), pp. 239-272.
  • Kim, Nam C, Lai Van Toi, and Trinh Hoang Hiep. 2010. Co Loa: An investigation of Vietnam’s ancient capital. Antiquity84, pp. 1011-1027.